"Cleaning my Gun" as written by and Mark Knopfler....
I keep a weather eye on the horizon, my back to the wall
I like to know who's coming through the door, that's all
It's the old army training kicking in
I'm not complaining, it's the world we live in

Blarney and Malarkey, they're a devious firm
They'll take you to the cleaners or let you burn
The help is breaking dishes in the kitchen - thanks a lot
We hired the worst dishwasher this place ever got
Come in below the radar, they want to spoil our fun
In the meantime I'm cleaning my gun

Remember it got so cold ice froze up the tank
We lit a fire beneath her just so she would crank
I keep a weather eye on the horizon, tap the storm glass now and then
I've got a case of Old Damnation for when you get here, my friend
We can have ourselves a party before they come
In the meantime I'm cleaning my gun

We had women and a mirror ball, we had a DJ
used to eat pretty much all that came his way
Ever since the goons came in and took apart the place
I keep a tire iron in the corner, just in case

I gave you a magic bullet on a little chain
to keep you safe from the chilly winds and out of the rain
We're gonna might need bullets should we get stuck
Any which way, we're going to need a little luck
You can still get gas in Heaven, and a drink in Kingdom Come
In the meantime I'm cleaning my gun


Lyrics submitted by DogSwede

"Cleaning My Gun" as written by Mark Knopfler

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Cleaning My Gun song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentMy read on this great song is that Knopfler is juxtaposing thoughts of a vet with those of an Irish terrorist, showing their common ground. Tanks vs tire irons....staying below the radar....having a party before they go...all visions that could apply to vets coming from or off to war, or terrorists plotting their attacks. The 'case of old damnation' is genius...it is also "case the whole damn nation" alluding to the terrorist plots. All in all I think this is unsurpassed in the amazing Knopfler catalog...Dire Straits included.
    mikekelseyon March 02, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe has said that this song is from the vet's viewpoint, the survivor's viewpoint. And also that he's a veteran at the 'music thing'. And even if the lyrics is about military, can it might be metaphorically a part from his own view.

    DogSwedeon September 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentin my interpretation it is about a guy who has stopped serving in the army, but his time in the army has made him suspicious, paranoid.. He hopes for a good future, but is very aware of all the possible dangers that he and his partner(s) might be confronted with..
    pearjuiceon November 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this would make a wonderful bit of soundtrack for the 2013 movie The Colony, where a new ice age makes life a bit difficult ;-)

    imdb.com/title/tt1160996/
    alanpeeryon May 28, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's commentary on oppressive government in general. Many veterans don;t trust the government...they see the hypocrisy a little clearer I think. But to me the song is about personal response to a growing tyranny.
    wesjones21on April 01, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat is Old Damnation? It sounds like vernacular for something and yet a Google search reveals little of use. I've seen it posited that this refers to a case of ammunition for the coming battle against Blarney & Malarkey. Yet somehow, I sense he is more likely talking about a case of whiskey.
    DanPerryon September 14, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionWell, in the light of the latest happenings, and metaphorically speaking, this song could easily be about Britain's attitude towards the rest of Europe. Just look, "I like to know who's coming through the door" - and most of us do like to know who these asylum seekers really are, are they all genuine? "We hired the worst dishwasher" - could be referred to lots of unskilled workers who moved to the UK over the recent years. "Come in below the radar, they want to spoil our fun" - yep, they came in, and nobody noticed before there were too many. I don't want to say that was Mark's intention, but it certainly rings some bells if you give it some thought.
    CMOSon October 25, 2016   Link

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